Keith Urban got a haircut this week. And despite more than 700 retweets of the new hair photo he posted on Twitter on Tuesday (Nov. 26), that alone isn’t really news. But what is news is that Urban hasn’t had hair this short since his debut solo self-titled album was released in 1999.
That was his breakout album. It was the one that almost overnight made the Australian country singer a household name in America. It brought us hits like “But for the Grace of God” and “Where the Blacktop Ends.” So maybe this new style is a way of returning to his make-a-statement roots.
Seeing short hair on a man who has had face-framing layers most of his professional life is a bit of a shock. But it’s sexy, youthful and just a cool change of pace. Urban has evolved musically since arriving in Nashville in 1992, so it makes sense his hair would evolve with him.
Early ’90s: Urban was a little bit of everything before he left his native Australia. He had some spiky Billy Idol hair for a while, some long surfer beachy waves and what appears to be a bit of over-processed mess of platinum hair. You can see the whole gallery — from his win on Starmaker to his first promo shots — on photographer John Elliott’s website .
1991: This year was a continuation of Urban’s all-one-length, dirty blond, I’m-too-cool-to-care, beachy waves look. It’s how he looked on the cover of his Keith Urban album released in Australia.
1993: Bring on the bleach! When Urban moved to Nashville, one of his first gigs was to play a guitar player in Alan Jackson‘s “Mercury Blues” video. His hair was straight, worn well past his shoulders, and was very, very blond.
1997: Looks like he finally parted ways with his bleach. Urban’s hair on the cover of his first American album, The Ranch was dirty blond, shoulder-length rocker hair.
1999: This was the year for breakouts. Breakout hair! On a breakout album! Full of breakout hits! His hair today looks almost identical to the hair on the cover of this self-titled album although he’d gone in for some major highlights and lowlights. As did almost everyone in 1999.
2002: Urban grew out that short cut by the time he released Golden Road. And he did so flawlessly. The result was a feathery, golden long bob that screamed “sex symbol” to his country fans everywhere.
2004: The Be Here era? Not Urban’s best hair: a dirty blond shag with blunt side bangs.
2006: Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing gave us choppier bangs and chunkier highlights. He absolutely nailed it.
2009: The highlights went away for Urban’s Defying Gravity album, and the shag got a little shorter.
2010: No change for his Get Closer release. He did have two busy little girls at home by then, so who has time for a makeover?
2013: Ditto for Fuse. No big changes. That is, until now.
November 2013: The return to an edgy, super-short crop — over the ears — with razor-cut, messy, side-swept bangs. And no more highlights. He looks good in this hair.